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Patty Waters Sings

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Posted by: JSngry Sep 21 2004, 09:29 AM

My god, does singing get any more honest than this?

A collection of material from Waters' own personal collection, this set includes a 1964 Jax Beer jingle (w/Joe Newman!), a 1963 demo session for Columbia (produced by Tom Wilson, whose between-take chatter is priceless, a 1960 cut recorded in San Diego (when Waters was still singing, quite well, too, in a “traditional” “torch song” style, and, the real news, pieces recorded in 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1979, years which Waters was allegedly “lost” a la Henry Grimes.

The material is a collection of standards and originals. The latter are very, VERY personal in their lyrics. Some might even call them obsessive. They focus on loneliness and love for somebody who's not there anymore (possibly Clifford Jarvis?), and they are at once compelling and disturbing, although Waters' delivery is very, VERY low-key. There's also a long solo piano piece that is simply beautiful. Nothing at all “difficult” about it, but the timing and the sensitivity of the playing makes it difficult not to get pulled in/wrapped up in it.

Highlight of the disc for me is a version of “;For All We Know” from 1979 - just a vocal-piano duet (all the vocal numbers save for the Jax thing, are piano (either Waters herself or somebody else) and vocal only. This song has a pretty intense lyric anyway, but Waters sings it with a mixture of resignation, sadness, loss, and quiet (VERY quiet) desperation that is the definitive reading of it, at least that I've heard.

There's none of the groundbreaking extended vocal techniques of the ESP albums. This is just a collection of songs by a woman who sounds like she's been there and back, and if she hasn't yet begun to find all the pieces to put back together yet, she definitely knows what it'll be like when she does. IF she does (and reports are that she has, thank God).

Certainly not for everybody in these less-than-vocalist-friendly parts, but those inclined to get into singers and songs that are totally devoid of artifice and cut straight to the bone of what's going on inside are advised to check it out. It's frighteningly intimate and vulnerable, at times maybe even “unhealthily” so, but I can handle that.

BTW - There's a nude photo from 1970 inside the booklet. But it's not nearly as naked as the singing.


Posted by: David Gitin Sep 21 2004, 10:55 Am

QUOTE (JSngry @ Sep 21 2004, 09:29 AM)

This is just a collection of songs by a woman who sounds like she's been there and back; and if she hasn’t yet begun to find all the pieces to put back together yet, she definitely knows what it’ll be like when she does. IF she .. does (and reports are that she has, thank God).

Patty is happily living in Hawaii these days. She used to live in Santa Cruz, California area and I got to hear her wonderful singing at Monterey Jazz Festival a few years ago, not to mention hearing her quite a few years ago (1966) with Burton Greene, Giusseppe Logan (and on same bill, Sun Ra).


From Billboard Russia (August 2007 edition) - Translated from the Russian

ESP Disc by itself is an extremely strange label. But among the mass of crazies, published by Bernard Stollrnan, there are especially strange names. One of them is Patty Waters - intimate and uncompromising, mold-breaking singer, that didn't let the blues die and turned it upside-down not thinking of consequences. It was after there were Diamanda Galas or a talented imitator of art Yoko Ono. But in the beginning Albert Ayler brought Patty Waters on ESP Disc, where Richard Alderson recorded an incredible and undoubtedly strange album. “First seven songs, as personal diary pages, sounding quietly, on the verge of whisper and dull soulful pain, are no longer than two-three minutes. But suddenly, the last, eighth, “Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair”, is powerful and mold-breaking, with vocal desperation and improvisation for the thirteen minutes and complete lapses of memory.”